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Opening their brazen folds discover wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendant by subtle magic many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude
Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise
And some the architect: his hand was known
In heaven by many a towered structure high,
Where sceptred angels held their residence,
And sat as princes, whom the supreme king
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unador’d
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell
From heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o’er the chrystal battlements; from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropp'd from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos the Æ'gean isle: thus they relate,

Erring; for he with his rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor ought avail'd him now
To have built in heaven high towers; nor did he scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Mean while the winged heralds by command
Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony
And trumpets sound throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandæmonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers : their summons callid
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest ; they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came
Attended : all access was throng’d, the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold
Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldan's chair
Defy'd the best of Panim chivalry
To mortal combat or career with lance)
Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air,
Brush'd with the hiss of rusling wings. As bees
In spring-time, when the sun with Taurus rides,

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Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters ; they among fresh dews and Aowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New-rubb’d with balm, expatiate and confer
Their state affairs. So thick the airy crowd
Swarm’d and were straiten’d; till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder! they but now who seem’d
In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount, or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over-head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduc'd their shapes immense, and were at large,
Though without number still amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,

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And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great seraphic lords and cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then,
And summons read, the great consult began.

THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.

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